How Many Pesticides are in Honeybees? The Answer Will Give You Chills

Time to take a nap. Researchers found that 57 pesticides are in honeybees. Ugh.

So… You think that you come into contact with a lot of pesticides everyday by merely being a human who lives in this dirty, toxic world? Well, we can say without a doubt that every human on planet Earth doesn’t have it as bad as the honeybees.

You may be thinking, “what the heck do you mean?” Well, here are the details:

Scientists have discovered a new way to gauge the amount of pesticides in honeybees. And preliminary research has discovered that–brace yourselves– residue from 57 different pesticides are commonly found in a typical honeybee.

How Scientists Found the Dreaded 57

To examine the amount of pesticides affecting bees, Tomasz Kiljanek and a team of researchers from the National Veterinary Research Institute in Poland, developed a method to better analyze pesticides. “They [the researchers] can now analyze 200 pesticides at the same time,” Treehugger reports. The method is able to examine many of the pesticides that are currently approved for use in the European Union.

The scientists decided to pursue their research they think bee health should be a public health concern. “Bees are considered critically important for the environment and agriculture by pollinating more than 80 percent of crops and wild plants in Europe,” Kiljanek says.

The scientists involved in the study note that it’s incredibly difficult to find the exact cocktail of pesticides inside bees. But once this information is deciphered, it could help people discover the complex relationship between bees and pesticides. Also, different types of pesticides used over varied periods of time could affect honeybees in different ways.

Checking Current Levels

So, the only way to understand what pesticides are in honeybees right now is to examine the pesticide concentration levels currently in honeybees.

And “what they [scientists] found after investigating more than 70 honeybee poisoning incidents was the presence of 57 different pesticides present in the bees,” Treehugger reports.

Now, Kiljanek notes that this is just the beginning of the research that needs to be conducted. “Honeybee poisoning incidents are the tip of the iceberg,” he notes. “Even at very low levels, pesticides can weaken bees’ defense systems, allowing parasites or viruses to kill the colony. Our results will help expand our knowledge about the influence of pesticides on honeybee health, and will provide important information for other researchers to better assess the risk connected with the mix of current used pesticides.”

We hope future research will reveal more information because we know one thing is certain: Honeybees need our help. Without bees, nothing can survive.

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Image of honeybee via Shutterstock

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.